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1:23 PM on 08.03.2009 // Christopher J Oatis
Mother Ship Zeta-First Contact.

Okay, so the big bad Alien Add-on has finally invaded. Mother Ship Zeta went on Sale this morning, and I played the first couple hours to get a feel. So far, the game has its hosts of pros and cons, but a handful of my fears are already confirmed.

First of all, It’s pretty much a victim of the “L” word, linear. Were there any doubts? While the mother ship does open up to allow some human decision on the map, it offers no more freedom then which end of a “T” would you like to explore, and which NPC would you like to take with you. There won’t be the type of freedom of discover offered by Point Lookout I’m afraid; in fact there isn’t even a world map available. It looks like another spider web mission at its best, you’re stuck here until your done.

The game also has a pretty weak bestiary. You have aliens, aliens, and more aliens that are assisted by typical turrets and some boring robots. The ship is also full of cryo-tube that contain people the aliens have collected over the years, and occasional you’ll crack open one to unleash a ghoul or raider on yourself. Ghouls in space, why not? Jason Voorhees, Leprechaun, and Pinhead all got there.

If you like new energy weapons, then this game does have provide. The funny thing is that none of them seem out power the Alien Blaster most gamers plucked out off the crashed ship months ago. The other two weapons are similar but weaker. Then there’s another sloppy heavy weapon that looks like Bioshock Big Daddy Drill but launches energy in the shape of a bouncing ball, which is nearly impossible to aim and causes a lot less damage then it looks like it’s going to.

Mothership Zeta’s most interesting moment, thus far was a standoff, ala Half Life 2, where your character and a Cowboy—you thaw after being frozen for a couple hundred years—have to fend off a horde of aliens using shock pulses from anti gravity towers, and then manual shoot the ones that make it through. While this was new and amusing it proves my statement from last month that the designers are trying to reinvent the wheel. Don’t mess with near perfection, just give us the freedom we’ve always enjoyed in the Fallout Universe, more map to explore.

While Fallout has never taken itself all that serious, the tone of this DLC is mostly a comedy. The alien’s voices are funny. The NPCs are silly figures misplaced in time, including a Samurai that speaks only Japanese. The enemies themselves are almost comic looking with their bobble head like physiques, and the ship is loaded with recording the aliens forced each of their captives to make. Most of these are quite Monty Pythonish.

So what’s the verdict. Well, it’s probably falls right in the middle. It’s easily more captivating than Operation Anchorage or The Pitt. However, it can’t compare with Broken Steel or Point Lookout. While, I probably have a ways to go still, my first impression is far from amazement.

Keep in my mind that I’m judging this more harshly because this is it folks, the last of Fallout until 2010 sometime. It’s enjoyable, but lacks the freedom that always made the Fallout games great. I just hope it will all end some sort of final bang, so I can leave it feeling satisfied. Cause after this, it’s back to either hanging around Megaton and watching Moria pick soot out of her scalp or off to Big Town to listen to Bittercup rant. Oh BOY, It's going to be a long cold winter until New Vegas launches
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